...lies an even gruffer bunch of songs

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John Hiatt And The Goners – Beneath This Gruff Exterior

As Lucinda Williams proved on World Without Tears, recording live-from-the-floor can be scintilating. John Hiatt’s 18th album (the first on which The Goners get a joint credit) was recorded in such fashion in just eight days. Sadly, it contains none of the finesse that made his last album, The Tiki Bar Is Open, such a joy. They sound like they’re playing in a roadhouse on a Friday night. Which is fine in its place. Out of context, it just sounds a mess.